April 23, 2021 — When Angels Show Up

A classic example of God’s promise that angels have been “sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation.”

The writer to the Hebrews (13:2) offers us this wisdom: “Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels.” That’s what our story today is about in Genesis 18. Abraham, sitting by his tent door, saw three strangers approaching. They are referred to as men, for that’s how they appeared. But as they drew closer, Abraham recognized one of them—it was the Lord! The other two, it turns out, were angels. Bowing down, Abraham says, “My Lord, if I have now found favor in Your sight, do not pass on by Your servant” (v 3). He provides water for washing their feet (the first reference to foot washing in the Bible) and arranges for what he calls “a morsel of bread, that you may refresh your hearts.” Actually, he orders up a full-course meal—fresh-baked bread and butter, tender beef, and milk. After a reminder to the couple of their coming son, the two angels headed east from Hebron towards Sodom. Then we have an interesting aside. The Lord speaks. He does not appear to be speaking to the angels, and He is not speaking to Abraham. He is speaking about him. In fact, it seems that He is speaking to US, the readers of this wonderful book. He asks, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am doing, since Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him?” (Gen 18:17-18). This is key to our understanding of what follows. God will explain to Abraham His mission to look for any righteousness in Sodom before He destroys those wicked cities. In our next lesson, we will answer the question: In pleading with God, was Abraham trying to get Him to change His mind? And do we change His mind when we pray? Now that is an important question!